Whoops… I did it again. Said I would post, but I didn’t. Sorry. Here is part two of my stories about giving. It is actually two stories- one from myself, and the other from one of my favourite writers, Shannan Martin. (No, not a Mennonite, for those of you whose minds went there.) I felt that these two stories could travel peaceably side by side, so here they are. Mine first, then Shannon’s.
I can see the toll that being a mom, a student, and an employee has taken on her.
Her eyes are less bright, her smile less natural. There isn’t time for the friendly chatting that used to happen.
I cannot imagine being as busy as she must feel.
And so I think, “How can I help this dear woman?”
And the answer is…
French fry casserole.
(It usually is. Along with bread, salad, and dessert. You know how these things are.)
I plan to make a meal for her and her family, hoping that just one night of not needing to think about supper will be a relief.
But before I can execute my French fry casserole, I get a message from the same dear woman that I was so earnestly and selflessly wanting to help, saying, (in short) “I need to send my boys to school on Friday.”
And everything inside me pauses, and then roars, “FRIDAY. FRIDAY! THE SCHOOL IS CLOSED ON FRIDAYS, PLUS I HAVE THINGS THAT I WAS COUNTING ON DOING THIS FRIDAY!”
Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Funny how much I want to lighten her load, but how much I do not want to help her in this particular manner.
Oh, the inconsistency and selfishness of wanting to help, but on my own terms.
I smile grimly, dutifully recite the words, “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver”, and tell her that I will be able to care for her boys on Friday.
Because I am able, and because I do want to help.
Lord, have mercy.
A story that Shannan Martin shared on Instagram. (Used with permission.)
I was recently in a meeting at the elementary school and someone said “You know what we need? Chapstick.” The next Sunday I grabbed the mic at church and shared. An hour later I had $62 and ALL of it came from people who were in work release and have very little. 😭 (Reminder: we all want to live generously!) I reached out to one of my favorite local shops, @thesoapygnome and said “I’ll take as many lip balms as I can get for $62.” She hooked me up (yay, community!) and a few others from church added what they had grabbed to the hopper. When I delivered a giant bag of lip balms to the office last week the school nurse squealed.
Takeaways: ✔️ Ask people what they need. Don’t assume you know. ✔️ Work with the people near you. Support each other. Love your neighbor WITH your neighbor. It’s just better that way! ✔️ Small is big. Small is big. Small is big. On Repeat. Amen.”
Sometimes we know what others need… but sometimes we only think that we know.
Let’s care enough to find out what the right way to serve is. Let’s care enough to find out what the need truly is. Do you have any stories?